No. 4 Bishop Ryan bests No. 2 Shiloh Christian 54-50

Garrick Hodge/MDN Bishop Ryan’s Mason Hedberg (5) drives to the basket during a boys high school basketball game Saturday in Minot.

It wasn’t a perfect effort, but any time his team can come away with a win against No. 2 Shiloh Christian, Bishop Ryan boys basketball coach Jeremy Feller will take it.

The No. 4 Lions used a dominating defensive performance to make up for poor free throw shooting in a 54-50 win over the Skyhawks Saturday in Minot.

“Any time you play Shiloh, you know you’re going against a powerhouse,” Feller said. “It’s nice to come away with a win, because you have to play pretty good basketball to beat them. But we have to get back to work and be ready to go for Tuesday’s game against Kenmare.”

The first half was tightly contested, with the Lions leading 10-7 after the first quarter and 26-22 at halftime. Ryan outscored Shiloh Christian 15-10 in the third quarter for a 41-32 lead entering the final period.

“This was a team win,” said Ryan guard Ben Bohl, who had a team-high 20 points and nine rebounds. “It started on the defensive end, we just wanted to make defense a priority in this game because we knew we had to stop them. Our defense really became our offense.”

Garrick Hodge/MDN Bishop Ryan’s Ben Bohl (3) puts up a layup Saturday.

In hindsight, Bishop Ryan might feel fortunate to earn the win, as the Lions only converted 8 of 21 free throws in the second half and 11-of-25 overall. The good news was Ryan never let the Skyhawks crawl closer than within three after halftime. Plus, Shiloh Christian wasn’t exactly opportunistic with its charity stripe chances either, converting 10 of 19 free throws.

“Our free throws down the stretch weren’t as clean as they need to be,” Feller said. “Eight of 21 in the second half is not very good and not like us. If we hit some of those we might have had some more separation. I thought our energy defensively is probably what bailed us out on those free throws. If we play again in a similar situation and don’t get as many stops, those free throws will probably cost us the game. We have to clean up a few things but it’s early, it’s only our third game.”

Mason Hedberg added 12 points for Bishop Ryan, while Alex Burckhard contributed seven. The Lions made 16 field goals and four 3-pointers in the contest.

“A win like this is a big morale booster for our team,” Bohl said. “We just love building off these wins and seeing how much better we can get.”

Canaan Fagerland had a team-high 20 points for the Skyhawks, while Bartholomew Ogbu chipped in 14 points.

Bishop Ryan (3-0) is back in action at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts Kenmare.

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.